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'[EE]: Mowbot Theft control (was Battery surplus)'
2001\05\08@141122 by Lawrence Lile

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Last night I finally got a bank of Tim's surplus NIMH batteries hooked up to
the motors of my mowbot, and actually mowed some grass.  The mowbot has no
brains as of yet, just motors and batteries, so I had to pick it up and turn
it around at the ends of the yard, but it was still a satisfying achievment.
"May 7, 2001" I sez to myself  "The first day I mowed my lawn from an easy
chair."

Ironically, my neighbor across the street was mowing his yard the way the
old-timers did, with a noisy, cantankerous, hard-to-start , smelly and
polluting internal combustion engine.  I felt kind of guilty sitting in my
lawn chair, sipping lemonade and reading a novel while quietly mowing my
grass, whilst he sweated away.

I've been mulling over different theft control schemes for the Mowbot.  I'm
worried about someone lifting it while I'm not looking.

The heart of my theft control scheme is going to be a 108 dB horn honking in
the would-be theif's face.  With a 10 amp-hour battery, and 300mA draw for
the horn, it'll honk about 33 hours before the battery quits.  Enough to try
the patience of most thieves, and alert any nosy nieghbors ( I have several)
. The PIC will not give up honking as long as it has power.  A bit set in
EEPROM could also remember that it was in alarm mode when the power quit
last time.  A nice keyswitch or a secret number typed in a keypad will
disable the alarm.

But how to sense the theif is stealing my 'bot? (without actually killing
him)   Hmmmmmm......  I sense one of those [OT]:cows discussions coming
up....


-- Lawrence Lile

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2001\05\08@141959 by Kev

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Why not stick a GPS module and cell modem in it & have it phone home if it
leaves your yard.  Then you could give the police coordinates of the theif.

Kev

{Original Message removed}

2001\05\08@142639 by Sean H. Breheny

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Congratulations, Lawrence, on making a working mowbot!

For theft deterrence, perhaps some of the "interesting" failure modes of
Li-Ion batteries could be triggered ;-) Seriously, though, what about
sensing  when the wheels are turning more easily than they should be
(indicating that it is no longer on the ground but suspended in the air).

Sean

At 01:11 PM 5/8/01 -0500, Lawrence Lile wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2001\05\08@143929 by Ryan Miller

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I'm assuming that the thief isn't going to walk down the street with the
mower blade spinning. Have an obvious "OFF" switch that really triggers the
alarm. Have a not-obvious off switch for those in the know (like you).

Ryan

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2001\05\08@150510 by t F. Touchton

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part 1 2272 bytes content-type:text/plain; charset=us-asciiThe Toro solar mower needed to be folded to carry.... after folding you had
about 7 seconds to enter a 5 digit security code, otherwise the horn sounded
until the batteries died, about 2 hours... I forgot the code one day : -(

Scott F. Touchton
1550 Engineering Manager
JDS Uniphase


|--------+----------------------->
|        |          "Sean H.     |
|        |          Breheny"     |
|        |          <shb7@CORNELL|
|        |          .EDU>        |
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 |       cc:     (bcc: Scott Touchton/US/UNIPHASE)                            |
 |       Subject:     Re: [EE]: Mowbot Theft control (was Battery surplus)    |
 >----------------------------------------------------------------------------|





Congratulations, Lawrence, on making a working mowbot!

For theft deterrence, perhaps some of the "interesting" failure modes of
Li-Ion batteries could be triggered ;-) Seriously, though, what about
sensing  when the wheels are turning more easily than they should be
(indicating that it is no longer on the ground but suspended in the air).

Sean

At 01:11 PM 5/8/01 -0500, Lawrence Lile wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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part 2 2941 bytes content-type:application/octet-stream; (decode)

part 3 144 bytes
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2001\05\08@160438 by Quentin

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Lawrence Lile wrote:
>
> The heart of my theft control scheme is going to be a 108 dB horn honking in
> the would-be theif's face.  With a 10 amp-hour battery, and 300mA draw for
> the horn, it'll honk about 33 hours before the battery quits.  Enough to try
> the patience of most thieves, and alert any nosy nieghbors ( I have several)

Me thinks within 33 hours of honking, your Mowbot will not be stolen,
but completely smashed in by your neighbors trying to shut the damn
thing up!

:)
Quentin

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2001\05\08@161321 by jamesnewton

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Can we get some pictures? Drawings? plans? tutorials? etc...

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2001\05\08@162922 by David VanHorn

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>
>Me thinks within 33 hours of honking, your Mowbot will not be stolen,
>but completely smashed in by your neighbors trying to shut the damn
>thing up!

If the cops don't come by, shoot it, and arrest you!

How about it rendering itself inoperable, and speaking out a message every
5 minutes, " I belong to (whoever) at (Phone number)"

Much easier on the neighbors, and nearly the same partscount.
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2001\05\08@162938 by Lawrence Lile

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Hey_ amp sensing the wheels might be a real easy way to detect being lifted!
That's a great suggestion, Sean!


Here's my plan so far:

I've got bumpers which will move in one direction when the mowbot hits the
garden wall.  If you lift the mowbot by the bumpers, they will move in the
other direction. I'll have a microswitch arranged to check for this.
Bumpers will wrap around, so you'll literally have to lift it by the bumpers
to pick it up.

Pick up a bumper wihtout first turning off the keyswitch? and you get an
earful! and also the mower stops working.

I'll have a tilt switch anyway, because I don't want the thing to keep
mowing once it has flipped upside down.  And the tilt switch will cause an
alarm, because I want it to let me know it has flipped, so I'll put down my
lemonade and go tend it.

Amp sensing on the wheels may be easily done.  Is this an option on the
L293D that Dan is putting into his Pic-O-Botboards? Can't remmeber


I considered the GPS idea, at least having the thing know if it is outside
my yard would be a good thing for all concerned.  Too bad GPS is not
accurate enough to sense the edge of the yard with!

This is going to be a real Piclist extravaganza, with Tim's nimH batteries,
Dan's Botboard.

-- Lawrence Lile
P.S. Pictures developing now.


{Original Message removed}

2001\05\08@165557 by Josh Koffman

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Oops, I just realized I sent this directly to Lawrence. Sorry about
that.

-j

Josh Koffman wrote:
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2001\05\08@170808 by Patrik Husfloen

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Make it say:
"all your grass are belong to us". that would be much cooler imho :)

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To: <EraseMEPICLISTspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Tuesday, May 08, 2001 10:27 PM
Subject: Re: [EE]: Mowbot Theft control (was Battery surplus)


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2001\05\08@174814 by Alexandre Domingos F. Souza

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>For theft deterrence, perhaps some of the "interesting" failure modes of
>Li-Ion batteries could be triggered ;-) Seriously, though, what about
>sensing  when the wheels are turning more easily than they should be
>(indicating that it is no longer on the ground but suspended in the air).

       Why bother? A simple mercury switch can do the trick. Inclined more than a few degrees, raise hell! ;oD

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2001\05\08@174833 by Alexandre Domingos F. Souza

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>How about it rendering itself inoperable, and speaking out a message every
>5 minutes, " I belong to (whoever) at (Phone number)"

       Because some prankster guy would reprogram it to say something like "I belong to GODspamspam_OUTSKY.COM.SY" ;oD

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2001\05\08@174849 by Alexandre Domingos F. Souza

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>Why not stick a GPS module and cell modem in it & have it phone home if it
>leaves your yard.  Then you could give the police coordinates of the theif.

       Maybe an InMarSat phone, if it goes outlands? :oD

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2001\05\08@175714 by Byron A Jeff

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>
> Can we get some pictures? Drawings? plans? tutorials? etc...

Be careful what you wish for. I've been a member of the Mowbot mailing list
for several years. And just like bears, it sleeps in the winter and awakes
every spring with the new hope of robotic lawnmowers. But for some reason
it has stayed dormant this spring.

It's site with pictures, projects, and archives is located at:

http://members.xoom.com/Mowbot/

My slowly developing project is to outfit a Sears push reelmower with
drive electronics. I settled on this system because none of the cutting
systems I tried, including spinning cirular saw blades with a car fan
blower motor, ever gave anything close to satisfactory results.

My plan is to work a system live Dave Everett's or Steve Maziarz's listed
on the site. My current technology is a 33 AH Lead Acid battery powering
two windshield wiper motors.

I'm currently idling at getting the motors, chains, and spockets, firmly
attached. In my last prototype all my failure modes were at wood joints
or thin metal.

I found that on the mowbot list there was way too much discussion about control
systems and not enough about the basics, movement and cutting. There seemed
to be too much focus on total autonomy where simpler systems (beacons, maps,
bumpers) could easily solve the problems of directing the beast.

BTW James I've love to see a robot/mowbot specific tag here on the PICLIST
discussing drive systems and control electronics.

Just my 2 cents.

BAJ
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2001\05\08@180556 by Ethan Swint

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> BTW James I've love to see a robot/mowbot specific tag here on the PICLIST
> discussing drive systems and control electronics.

How about [BOT]: ?

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2001\05\08@180813 by David VanHorn

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>
>I found that on the mowbot list there was way too much discussion about
>control
>systems and not enough about the basics, movement and cutting. There seemed
>to be too much focus on total autonomy where simpler systems (beacons, maps,
>bumpers) could easily solve the problems of directing the beast.

Why not start with a battery powered mower in the first place?
I have a B+D that I've used for three years now, works great.
38AH 12V battery, plus motor, and control relay.
Their charger failed two years ago, so I just brought out a direct
connection via PowerPole, and I charge it with an external. (Silly, imho,
to put the charger electronics in there, at least in a walk-behind version)


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2001\05\08@181544 by Chris Carr

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> Hey_ amp sensing the wheels might be a real easy way to detect being
lifted!
> That's a great suggestion, Sean!
>
>
> Here's my plan so far:
>
> I've got bumpers which will move in one direction when the mowbot hits the
> garden wall.  If you lift the mowbot by the bumpers, they will move in the
> other direction. I'll have a microswitch arranged to check for this.
> Bumpers will wrap around, so you'll literally have to lift it by the
bumpers
> to pick it up.

What about flower beds or the garden pond, bumpers aren't going to
help you there. Rotating blades in a goldfish pond tends to turn the water
red.

>
> Pick up a bumper wihtout first turning off the keyswitch? and you get an
> earful! and also the mower stops working.
>
> I'll have a tilt switch anyway, because I don't want the thing to keep
> mowing once it has flipped upside down.  And the tilt switch will cause an
> alarm, because I want it to let me know it has flipped, so I'll put down
my
> lemonade and go tend it.

Nice neighborhood you must live in, obviously is populated by thieves and
no kids.   :-)

I notice that there has been no mention of safety, specifically to prevent
tiny toes and inquisitive fingers getting chopped off.

>
> Amp sensing on the wheels may be easily done.  Is this an option on the
> L293D that Dan is putting into his Pic-O-Botboards? Can't remmeber
>
>
> I considered the GPS idea, at least having the thing know if it is outside
> my yard would be a good thing for all concerned.  Too bad GPS is not
> accurate enough to sense the edge of the yard with!
>
> This is going to be a real Piclist extravaganza, with Tim's nimH
batteries,
> Dan's Botboard.
>
Consider, Tripod wheel configuration, two powered, one free running on
castor. If any wheel leaves the ground then the cutting blade motor is shut
off (current sense on powered wheels, suspension on unpowered wheel)

Pressure sensitive bumpers all round. when activated mower backs off as
it has hit an obstacle, like Garden Furniture, Tree, Child or Pet Sheep
(Not much fear of encountering the latter now in the UK as the Government
has killed them all off)

Tilt sensors activated at no greater than 20 degrees from horizontal.
Activation shuts down machine.


Perimeter set by Sub-Surface Inductive Loop.  (Which can be extended to
protect Ponds, Bedding Areas etc.

Alarm caused by Prolonged Departure from Ground, Prolonged Pressure
on Bumper, Tilt Activation, Loss of Inductive Loop Signal (which includes
going outside the loop. Use a Radio Link to signal Alarm Condition.

That's the easy bit over. The interesting bit is generating an efficient
mowing algorithm.

After that comes the boring bit, Sitting on the stoop, drinking
Sundowners watching it work and watching the neighbour's trying to
pretend it doesn't exist.

Regards

Chris Carr

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2001\05\08@184358 by David VanHorn

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>
>I notice that there has been no mention of safety, specifically to prevent
>tiny toes and inquisitive fingers getting chopped off.

On any abnormality, you need to remove power from the motor, and apply a
0.1 ohm resistor across the motor.
This converts the energy stored in the blade to heat real fast.
It's about the best that you can do.  My B+D mower does this if you let go
of the handle.


>Tilt sensors activated at no greater than 20 degrees from horizontal.
>Activation shuts down machine.

Some yards are kinda bumpy. Acceleration is indistinguishable from tilt.


>After that comes the boring bit, Sitting on the stoop, drinking
>Sundowners watching it work and watching the neighbour's trying to
>pretend it doesn't exist.

Dress it up, so it looks like a normal (if large) mower.
Then when the new neighbors come by, pretend to be using your psychic
powers to push the mower.
They'll laugh for a moment, then when the mower turns around for the next
row.....
:)

You realize that 250 years ago, this technology would get you burned at the
stake

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2001\05\08@203700 by Russell McMahon

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Some years ago an especially noisy house alarm sounded for an hour plus.

The Police arrived and helped hold the ladder while I attempted to insulate
the external siren to reduce noise  level while other people found ways to
cut it off :-)



     Russell McMahon
_____________________________

> > The heart of my theft control scheme is going to be a 108 dB horn
honking in
> > the would-be theif's face.  With a 10 amp-hour battery, and 300mA draw
for
> > the horn, it'll honk about 33 hours before the battery quits.  Enough to
try
> > the patience of most thieves, and alert any nosy nieghbors ( I have
several)
>
> Me thinks within 33 hours of honking, your Mowbot will not be stolen,
> but completely smashed in by your neighbors trying to shut the damn
> thing up!

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2001\05\09@013924 by Chris Carr

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> >
> >I notice that there has been no mention of safety, specifically to
prevent
> >tiny toes and inquisitive fingers getting chopped off.
>
> On any abnormality, you need to remove power from the motor, and apply a
> 0.1 ohm resistor across the motor.
> This converts the energy stored in the blade to heat real fast.
> It's about the best that you can do.  My B+D mower does this if you let go
> of the handle.
>
>
> >Tilt sensors activated at no greater than 20 degrees from horizontal.
> >Activation shuts down machine.
>
> Some yards are kinda bumpy. Acceleration is indistinguishable from tilt.

It works for me and I have run demonstrations in fields which tend to offer
an environment considerably worse than your average lawn

{Quote hidden}

Two reasons that will not happen round here
        Yorkshire Reserve
        British Class Structure (Keeping up with the Jones's. If they
aquire
                 something such as a new car then you must buy one. A
                 robot lawnmower presents an aquisition problem therefore
                 pretend it isn't there)
>
> You realize that 250 years ago, this technology would get you burned at
the
> stake
>
Of course, but I was wise enough to keep a low profile then.

Ooops shouldn't have let that slip out.
;-)

Chris Carr

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2001\05\09@034659 by Roman Black

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David VanHorn wrote:

> Dress it up, so it looks like a normal (if large) mower.
> Then when the new neighbors come by, pretend to be using your psychic
> powers to push the mower.
> They'll laugh for a moment, then when the mower turns around for the next
> row.....
> :)
>
> You realize that 250 years ago, this technology would get you burned at the
> stake


Ha ha! 250 years ago, ANY technology got you burned
at the stake! ;o)
-Roman

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2001\05\09@041055 by Sean H. Breheny

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I don't think many people were getting burned at the stake in the 1750s.

Also, clockwork automatons have been around for a long time, I think longer
than 250 years. They were capable of much more than simply moving to one
spot and turning around, etc.

Sean

At 05:43 PM 5/9/01 +1000, you wrote:
>Ha ha! 250 years ago, ANY technology got you burned
>at the stake! ;o)
>-Roman
>
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2001\05\09@091119 by John Walshe

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I'm delighted this thread started - it is an idea I've been toying with for
a while - never got off the paper though. I have a question  -  who collects
the grass ?
My garden takes 3hrs on a 42" tractor mower and that generates a lot of
cuttings (which I use for mulch).
My guess is that the mowbot should also be a mulching mower - which I
believe has a double level blade which cuts up the clippings into tiny
pieces and then "drives" them into the ground. This requires a very high
speed on the blade (rotary) apparently.

Is this too much to ask of a mowbot?

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2001\05\09@093803 by Lawrence Lile

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Alas, a quick test of amp sensing showed but a 5% difference in current when
picked up vs moving along.  Motor current changes more than this just going
over bumps.  So it does not look like motor current sensing will give any
clear indication of whether the mowbot is being stolen.

It might be possible, howver, to mount the wheels such that there is a
switch actuated when the wheels are off the ground.  If both driving wheels
are off the ground, the mowbot is either being lifted, or has flipped over
on it's back.  Either way, I want it to honk for help.

I've probably got an old radio shack sound chip, I may also have it claim
it's identity and where it was stolen from.  It's getting complex, though.

My basic idea was to keep the project simple as possible, so I would FINISH
it within my lifetime!

-- Lawrence Lile

{Original Message removed}

2001\05\09@105319 by Lawrence Lile

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Chris wrote:
> What about flower beds or the garden pond, bumpers aren't going to
> help you there. Rotating blades in a goldfish pond tends to turn the water
> red.

All my flower beds are already lined with rocks.  I use raised bed gardens,
so the beds are always surrounded with a barrier.

> I notice that there has been no mention of safety, specifically to prevent
> tiny toes and inquisitive fingers getting chopped off.

I've actually thought about safety a lot.  One of the reasons to shut off
the mower head when it is lifted is safety.  That also might be a reason to
use a capacitive touch sensor on the case, if a person touches it, the mower
shuts off.  I'm not sure this would work in tall, wet grass, though.

I've also considered hacking an infrared motion sensor.  Now on a hot,
August day, moving at 4 feet per minute, would a motion sensor sense a tree?
A foolproof way of sensing a nearby person has so far eluded me.


> Consider, Tripod wheel configuration, two powered, one free running on
> castor. If any wheel leaves the ground then the cutting blade motor is
shut
{Quote hidden}

You have described my 'Bot to the T  !!!!!!!!!


>
> Perimeter set by Sub-Surface Inductive Loop.  (Which can be extended to
> protect Ponds, Bedding Areas etc.
>

Too complicated for my taste.  2/3 of my yard is already fenced, I'll fence
the rest and use bump sensors.  Simple, and it cannot escape the yard even
if my electronics fails.

> Alarm caused by Prolonged Departure from Ground, Prolonged Pressure
> on Bumper, Tilt Activation, Loss of Inductive Loop Signal (which includes
> going outside the loop. Use a Radio Link to signal Alarm Condition.
>
> That's the easy bit over. The interesting bit is generating an efficient
> mowing algorithm.
>

Efficient mowing algorithm = random mowing.  That's the most efficient
considering MY TIME IN BUILDING THE BOT as the main variable.  It will
wander about until it hits something, back up, turn in a semi-random
direction, and wander about again.  Eventually it will get the whole yard.
Yard's small, and rectangular.

> After that comes the boring bit, Sitting on the stoop, drinking
> Sundowners watching it work and watching the neighbour's trying to
> pretend it doesn't exist.
>

That's the part I'm looking forward to!

-- Lawrence Lile

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2001\05\09@112505 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
>
> >
> >I found that on the mowbot list there was way too much discussion about
> >control
> >systems and not enough about the basics, movement and cutting. There seemed
> >to be too much focus on total autonomy where simpler systems (beacons, maps,
> >bumpers) could easily solve the problems of directing the beast.
>
> Why not start with a battery powered mower in the first place?

Simple. All non robotic lawnmowers, including the reelmower I'm basing my
next prototype on, are designed to be operated by a human. All of the
wheel, drive and control systems basically require a 5-6 ft. biped to
operate.

> I have a B+D that I've used for three years now, works great.
> 38AH 12V battery, plus motor, and control relay.
> Their charger failed two years ago, so I just brought out a direct
> connection via PowerPole, and I charge it with an external. (Silly, imho,
> to put the charger electronics in there, at least in a walk-behind version)

I've had a couple of thoughts about stripping the cutting system from an
electric from its case, and recasting it into a chassis that is designed
for autonomous motion, but I really want to give the reelmower a good test
because it has fairly centered drive wheels and moving the unit causes
cutting automatically, so there will be one less system to control.

BAJ

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2001\05\09@120427 by David VanHorn

flavicon
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>
>I've had a couple of thoughts about stripping the cutting system from an
>electric from its case, and recasting it into a chassis that is designed
>for autonomous motion, but I really want to give the reelmower a good test
>because it has fairly centered drive wheels and moving the unit causes
>cutting automatically, so there will be one less system to control.

I was thinking last night, on cutting.
Seems to me, assuming separate cut and drive motors, that you could set the
drive speed by sensing current into the cut motor.  If you're cutting
grass, it should be higher than when the cutting's been done.

Maybe use a stepper for drive, or a gearmotor, but the basic idea is that I
drive along until the cut motor current rises, then I slow down, till the
cut motor current drops again.

Then you get faster motion over already cut areas, and you don't have to
worry about bogging down in thicker stuff.

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2001\05\09@133848 by Jeff DeMaagd

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----- Original Message -----
From: Byron A Jeff <KILLspambyronKILLspamspamCC.GATECH.EDU>

> > Why not start with a battery powered mower in the first place?
>
> Simple. All non robotic lawnmowers, including the reelmower I'm basing my
> next prototype on, are designed to be operated by a human. All of the
> wheel, drive and control systems basically require a 5-6 ft. biped to
> operate.

I doubt you'd like this idea, but last I checked, most bipeds need more
exercise than they get, so why not a non-electric, non-internal combustion
system and use the mechanical wheel-drive push cutters?  That way there is
no waste of electricity, no waste of fossil fuels and the biped in question
gets the exercise it needs.  Hang up on the health club membership and
you've saved money.  There are also fewer parts to maintain as well.

Jeff

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2001\05\09@135934 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Byron A Jeff <RemoveMEbyronTakeThisOuTspamCC.GATECH.EDU>
>
> > > Why not start with a battery powered mower in the first place?
> >
> > Simple. All non robotic lawnmowers, including the reelmower I'm basing my
> > next prototype on, are designed to be operated by a human. All of the
> > wheel, drive and control systems basically require a 5-6 ft. biped to
> > operate.
>
> I doubt you'd like this idea, but last I checked, most bipeds need more
> exercise than they get, so why not a non-electric, non-internal combustion
> system and use the mechanical wheel-drive push cutters?  That way there is
> no waste of electricity, no waste of fossil fuels and the biped in question
> gets the exercise it needs.  Hang up on the health club membership and
> you've saved money.  There are also fewer parts to maintain as well.

You're correct: I despise the idea ;-) I prefer more enjoyable ways of
getting exercise: walking, biking, swimming, playing with kids.

I decided a while ago that my goal is to automate all of the necessary but
menial tasks that must be done for the sake of fighting entropy. Lawn mowing
is at the very top of this list, followed in order by clothes washing, floor
cleaning, driving, and electrical device management. If it's a task that must
be done regularly, but requires little creative thought to perform, I want
to automate it.

BAJ (Automated entropy fighter...)

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2001\05\09@144359 by John Craft

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face
I agree, especially the driving part.  There is no reason that
interstate driving could not be automated at this point.  Just like
Arnold in "The Sixth Day" - "Thank you for using OnStar".

Jc.

{Original Message removed}

2001\05\09@155505 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
>
> I'm delighted this thread started - it is an idea I've been toying with for
> a while - never got off the paper though. I have a question  -  who collects
> the grass ?
> My garden takes 3hrs on a 42" tractor mower and that generates a lot of
> cuttings (which I use for mulch).
> My guess is that the mowbot should also be a mulching mower - which I
> believe has a double level blade which cuts up the clippings into tiny
> pieces and then "drives" them into the ground. This requires a very high
> speed on the blade (rotary) apparently.
>
> Is this too much to ask of a mowbot?

Probably. Simply because mulching action will require a lot of power.

BAJ

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2001\05\09@164855 by michael brown

flavicon
face
Could you use a simple photo-cell?  When the mower is lifted, ambient light
(under the deck) should greatly increase.  Of course keeping it
un-obstructed would probably be much to difficult.
Weight sensors in the wheels would probably be more reliable.  You could
trail a "feeler" attached to a micro-switch (leaf switch) that keeps the
switch open or closed when feeler is touching the ground, when lifted the
switch changes states.  Or, you could put big (metal) u-shaped handles that
appear to be for lifting.  But, in reality these would be attached to an
automotive coil for a shocking surprise.  Forgive me for being harsh, but a
thief deserves what he gets when he tries to take it.  I have never heard of
anybody being killed or even severely injured by a car coil.  Once bitten,
twice shy. LOL

Michael Brown
Instant Net Solutions
http://www.KillerPCs.net

{Original Message removed}

2001\05\09@170516 by Randy Glenn

picon face
Regarding the automotive coil idea, I have one word: Lawsuit.

-Randy Glenn
New record for time between Windows reinstalls: 4 months.
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{Original Message removed}

2001\05\09@173335 by michael brown

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> Regarding the automotive coil idea, I have one word: Lawsuit.
>
> -Randy Glenn
> New record for time between Windows reinstalls: 4 months.
> ==============================================
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>  RemoveMEPICxpertspam_OUTspamKILLspampicxpert.com - RemoveMERandy_GlennTakeThisOuTspamspamtvo.org
>           http://www.picxpert.com/
> ==============================================
>

<putting on my perspective correction lenses>

So, a stun-gun is ok.  But, a car coil is too dangerous.  Hmm....
I have a single word also "Trespassing".  He could mount a Jacobs Ladder on
top of the mower.  I cant think of too many people who would be willing to
touch something like that, although the FCC(here in the US) might have
something to say about it.  Seriously though, with no real injury(no
evidence), where is the lawsuit.  Especially, since an admission of
trespassing as well as attempted theft would be necessary just to make a
complaint.  Maybe I have lived in Texas for too many years, but I don't see
that as being a problem.

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2001\05\09@174152 by David VanHorn

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>Maybe I have lived in Texas for too many years, but I don't see
>that as being a problem.

In the rest of these disjointed states, and especially in the PRC (People's
Republic of California) you'd be in serious trouble.
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2001\05\09@174822 by t F. Touchton

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part 1 1610 bytes content-type:text/plain; charset=us-asciiFrom what I hear, even Texas has attornies.

Scott F. Touchton
1550 Engineering Manager
JDS Uniphase


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 |       cc:     (bcc: Scott Touchton/US/UNIPHASE)                            |
 |       Subject:     Re: [EE]: Mowbot Theft control (was Battery surplus)    |
 >----------------------------------------------------------------------------|





>Maybe I have lived in Texas for too many years, but I don't see
>that as being a problem.

In the rest of these disjointed states, and especially in the PRC (People's
Republic of California) you'd be in serious trouble.
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2001\05\09@180755 by Olin Lathrop

face picon face
> I decided a while ago that my goal is to automate all of the necessary but
> menial tasks that must be done for the sake of fighting entropy. Lawn
mowing
> is at the very top of this list, followed in order by clothes washing,
floor
> cleaning, driving, and electrical device management. If it's a task that
must
> be done regularly, but requires little creative thought to perform, I want
> to automate it.

Um, you'd warn us before trying your automated drivebot, right?


********************************************************************
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(978) 742-9014, RemoveMEolinKILLspamspamembedinc.com, http://www.embedinc.com

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2001\05\09@182330 by michael brown

flavicon
face
> From what I hear, even Texas has attornies.

Plenty, believe me.  Way too many.

<putting on my armchair lawyers robe>

However the law here(in Texas), plainly states that: a citizen, "in fear of
their life", or the the ownership and safety of their property can protect
themselves and their property (even goes so far as to include the lives and
property of others) with deadly force. <--big final period   A grand jury
rarely (read this as basically never) indicts in this kind of case.
Especially, when the police refer the case to the grand jury without
charges.

This is the place where you can shoot a wrecker driver, thru the back window
of the wrecker, as the driver is pulling away while reposessing your car,
from an apartment complex. (true story)  Remember, reposession is
technically theft when it is done without a court order, especially after
dark. (there is some unusual stuff in the law here about crimes after dark)

But, that is criminal law.  Cival law would land me into court.


<disclaimer>
I do not mean to sound like I am promoting or glamorizing violence in any
way.  Just having some fun. ;-)
</disclaimer>

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2001\05\09@185831 by Dale Botkin

flavicon
face
On Wed, 9 May 2001, Scott F. Touchton wrote:

> >From what I hear, even Texas has attornies.
>

Sure they do.  How else would you sight in a varmint rifle?  8-)

Dale
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On my desk I have a workstation...

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2001\05\09@200834 by goflo

flavicon
face
Texas also has attorneys - These are attornies who have passed
a post-bar literacy test. In the spirit of "Balance" currently
in vogue in judicial circles, I gather they are barred from
seeking public office...

regards, Jack

Dale Botkin wrote:
>
> On Wed, 9 May 2001, Scott F. Touchton wrote:
>
> > >From what I hear, even Texas has attornies.
> >
>
> Sure they do.  How else would you sight in a varmint rifle?  8-)

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2001\05\09@231123 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
>
> > I decided a while ago that my goal is to automate all of the necessary but
> > menial tasks that must be done for the sake of fighting entropy. Lawn
> mowing
> > is at the very top of this list, followed in order by clothes washing,
> floor
> > cleaning, driving, and electrical device management. If it's a task that
> must
> > be done regularly, but requires little creative thought to perform, I want
> > to automate it.
>
> Um, you'd warn us before trying your automated drivebot, right?

I don't think Tony did ;-)

The automated car is a pipedream of mine. The activity of driving long
streches of highway is a collosal waste of time and effort.

My thesis is that a multimodal system could adequately drive a car under
almost any highway conditions. The modes:

1) Map. Roads don't move much. An accurate digital map of the road can
be really helpful.
2) DGPS. Rather obvious for detecting the location of the vehicle.
3) optical/video. Interstate highway road markings are so consistent that
it should take very little effort to pick out the left,right, and center
lines.
4) Magnetic reflectors. The one item I'd actually add to the road. It would
give non visual confirmation that the car was still correctly on the road.
Being magnetic it wouldn't cost any power for the road either.
5) Ultrasonics for obstical detection.
5) Radio beacons (Maybe). Another non visual mechanism for position
confirmation. Also can be used to direct updated information to the
vehicle (detours, accidents, construction, etc.). If each beacon emitted
a unique id, the car could also resync position from the beacon.

The car's control system would monitor and integrate the data from the above
sources and drive the car based on this data. For the most part it could
be simple map following, using the GPS,video,magnetic,and radio data to
confirm position. This multimodal system would allow for graceful systems
failure without catastrophic failure. Finally it would require tearing up
the interstates to implement. Just plop in magnetics and radio beacons on
the road, and off you go. And should function in blinding rain. Not so sure
about snow or ice though.

Just some thoughts.

BAJ
{Quote hidden}

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2001\05\10@043047 by Justin Fielding

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face
This has already been done by Mercedes and BMW.  I saw it on Tomorrows world
a few years back when they were testing it.  Sure they have progressed since
then.  Keeping it a bit quiet though.


{Original Message removed}

2001\05\10@054503 by Chris Carr

flavicon
face
> >
> > I'm delighted this thread started - it is an idea I've been toying with
for
> > a while - never got off the paper though. I have a question  -  who
collects
{Quote hidden}

And this statement can be backed up? I for one would be interested in
why you come to this conclusion. Please elaborate.

Regards

Chris Carr

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2001\05\10@090738 by Olin Lathrop

face picon face
You've outlined the strategy when everything is normal.  The hard part is
handling the unusual or exceptional conditions.

> 1) Map. Roads don't move much.

Except for temporary contruction detours, genuine road changes, and map
errors.

> 3) optical/video. Interstate highway road markings are so consistent that
> it should take very little effort to pick out the left,right, and center
> lines.

Perhaps true when they are present and visible.  Many roads don't have all
these markings, or they could be covered up by snow or dirt, newly repaved
and not yet painted, etc.

> 4) Magnetic reflectors.

Ain't gonna happen.  Any useful system will have to work with the roads as
they are.

What happens when a dog crosses the road, a child follows a ball accross, a
policeman on the side of the road tells you to stop or slow down, etc.



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2001\05\10@091237 by t F. Touchton

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part 1 1670 bytes content-type:text/plain; charset=us-asciiI new I could still stir things up on the list!   Not quite as good as my helium
/ hydrogen fiasco, but not too bad (I must have got 50 private emails on that
one).

Scott F. Touchton
1550 Engineering Manager
JDS Uniphase


|--------+----------------------->
|        |          Dale Botkin  |
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 |       Subject:     Re: [EE]: Mowbot Theft control (was Battery surplus)    |
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On Wed, 9 May 2001, Scott F. Touchton wrote:

> >From what I hear, even Texas has attornies.
>

Sure they do.  How else would you sight in a varmint rifle?  8-)

Dale
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2001\05\10@092058 by Lawrence Lile

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My personal understanding of mulching is twofold:

1.  Blades have more "fan" action that lifts the grass by moving air

2. By lifting the grass, it is cut at a more uniform height (not all leaning
over) but more importantly the chaff is ground up another whack or two.

This is from memory from some postings on the mowbot list, a while back.

Any system which moves more air is not for me, as I am going for efficiency.
The power budget needs to be small enough that a solar cell will be
practical for charging.  Even if the solar cell can only provide 1/4 of the
power, and needs to charge 3/4 of the time.  (that's my plan now)  I've
always just left the chaff laying on the lawn, spray no chemicals, and for
my trouble I've got a nice pretty crop of clover, violets, dandelions and
very little actual grass.   That's what I like.


-- Lawrence Lile



{Original Message removed}

2001\05\10@094630 by michael brown

flavicon
face
Would some kind of linear cutter do the job?  I'm thinking that something
like hedge-clippers might give you better cutting efficiency.  These may
have to be home-made since they would have to possess a fairly sharp cutting
edge.  Just thinking out loud.

Michael Brown
Instant Net Solutions
http://www.KillerPCs.net

{Original Message removed}

2001\05\10@100247 by Roman Black

flavicon
face
Lawrence Lile wrote:
>
> My personal understanding of mulching is twofold:
>
> 1.  Blades have more "fan" action that lifts the grass by moving air
>
> 2. By lifting the grass, it is cut at a more uniform height (not all leaning
> over) but more importantly the chaff is ground up another whack or two.
>
> This is from memory from some postings on the mowbot list, a while back.
>
> Any system which moves more air is not for me, as I am going for efficiency.
> The power budget needs to be small enough that a solar cell will be
> practical for charging.


I would use a high speed DC motor, with a small
flywheel and two pieces of fine piano wire (stainless
steel wire) you could also use electric guitar strings.
This would be energy efficient and slice through anything
(BEWARE fingers!!) once spinning fast enough.

Like the whipper-snipper principle, which is efficient,
but the fine stainless wires would cut like razor blades.
I think it would mulch ok, if the mower is regular so
it is only taking a fine slice off the grass tops each
time. Mulching gets more critical if you are taking a
lot off the top with any one pass.

You would need to design the flywheel with small enough
mass to be able to stop quickly for safety, but large
enough mass that a thick stalk or small rock wont affect
the RPMs or snag it too easily. :o)
-Roman

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2001\05\10@121109 by Bill Westfield

face picon face
   Would some kind of linear cutter do the job?  I'm thinking that something
   like hedge-clippers might give you better cutting efficiency.

I'm having this mildly amusing vision of a robotic goat.  Think of something
like a scaled up Tilden BEAM robot.  Sits there in the sun soaking up energy
for a bit, and then ... munch munch munch ... a little patch of grass gets
"eaten" (clipped) and the robot moves a foot or so and waits for more sun.

:-)
BillW

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2001\05\10@131000 by Dan Larson

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face
On Thu, 10 May 2001 09:09:05 PDT, William Chops Westfield wrote:

>    Would some kind of linear cutter do the job?  I'm thinking that something
>    like hedge-clippers might give you better cutting efficiency.
>
>I'm having this mildly amusing vision of a robotic goat.  Think of something
>like a scaled up Tilden BEAM robot.  Sits there in the sun soaking up energy
>for a bit, and then ... munch munch munch ... a little patch of grass gets
>"eaten" (clipped) and the robot moves a foot or so and waits for more sun.
>

It could even contain a biomass digestor and convert the clipping into ethanol
or methane, which could then power a fuel cell. The digested clippings could
occasionally be deposited in the garden or in a mulch pile. Sort of like "Building
a better Goat"...

At night, it could then function as a terrifying robotic security guard without
benefit of the Sun.

Dan


> :-)
>BillW
>
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2001\05\10@142154 by Peter L. Peres

picon face
> Regarding the automotive coil idea, I have one word: Lawsuit.

Who suing whom ? The widow ? ;-) You could use the insides of a legal
'shocker' instead.

> -Randy Glenn
> New record for time between Windows reinstalls: 4 months.

Was the computer turned on during this time ?

Peter

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2001\05\10@144020 by Jeff DeMaagd

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----- Original Message -----
From: Peter L. Peres <spamBeGoneplp@spam@spamspam_OUTACTCOM.CO.IL>

> > -Randy Glenn
> > New record for time between Windows reinstalls: 4 months.
>
> Was the computer turned on during this time ?

My NT4 system easily had an uptime of nearly 4 months before I quit going
for uptime, it's mostly a waste of electricity to continue.  I don't know
what the problem is with all your computers but it's not impossible to have
an install last a long time.

Jeff

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2001\05\10@150706 by David VanHorn

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At 02:37 PM 5/10/01 -0400, Jeff DeMaagd wrote:
>----- Original Message -----
>From: Peter L. Peres <plpEraseMEspamACTCOM.CO.IL>
>
> > > -Randy Glenn
> > > New record for time between Windows reinstalls: 4 months.
> >
> > Was the computer turned on during this time ?
>
>My NT4 system easily had an uptime of nearly 4 months before I quit going
>for uptime, it's mostly a waste of electricity to continue.  I don't know
>what the problem is with all your computers but it's not impossible to have
>an install last a long time.

My Linux box shows 450 days. It's not been rebooted for any reason, since
it was plugged in.
http://www.dvanhorn.org


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2001\05\10@153026 by michael brown

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> My Linux box shows 450 days. It's not been rebooted for any reason, since
> it was plugged in.

Good deal!!! My Linux firewall/internet sharing gateway usually runs for
"only" about 4-6 months between reboots.  What happens is we will have a
local power outage that lasts longer than the UPS's batteries do.  Has
anybody seen the TV commercial from Microsoft, where they show a cluster
server that "hasn't had anyone near it in days".  What a joke.  Microsoft
has no clue about security or stability.

michael

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2001\05\10@154455 by David VanHorn

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At 02:27 PM 5/10/01 -0500, michael brown wrote:
> > My Linux box shows 450 days. It's not been rebooted for any reason, since
> > it was plugged in.
>
>Good deal!!! My Linux firewall/internet sharing gateway usually runs for
>"only" about 4-6 months between reboots.  What happens is we will have a
>local power outage that lasts longer than the UPS's batteries do.  Has
>anybody seen the TV commercial from Microsoft, where they show a cluster
>server that "hasn't had anyone near it in days".

That's 'cause it's not running.. :)
They're all over getting work done on the Linux servers.

Mine's located some 300 miles from me. I've never even seen where it is.
I configured it, put it in a box, drove it to fedex, and that's the last I
saw of it.
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2001\05\10@172613 by Herbert Graf

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{Quote hidden}

       You're right, if you don't add anything to the machine, however, windows
applications can be very bad when it comes to completely removing
themselves, this is where the most problems happen. You might not think you
need to reinstall, but if you feel like trying do it, you will be very
surprised how much faster you're system will be after a fresh install. This
might not be much of an issue with NT, but with win9x the difference a fresh
install makes is very significant. I also have machines that have had the
same win95 install for years, but they aren't touched much and serve as
servers on my home network. My max uptime has probably been nearly 6 months.
TTYL

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2001\05\10@182916 by David VanHorn

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>
> > -Randy Glenn
> > New record for time between Windows reinstalls: 4 months.
>
>Was the computer turned on during this time ?


Here's something from the NWS (See bottom)

>WFUS53 KDMX 102220 TORDSM IAC171-102250-
>
>BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
>TORNADO WARNING
>NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DES MOINES IA
>519 PM CDT THU MAY 10 2001
>
>THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN DES MOINES HAS ISSUED A
>
>* TORNADO WARNING FOR NORTHWESTERN TAMA COUNTY IN CENTRAL IOWA
>* UNTIL 550 PM CDT
>* AT 518 PM...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
>TORNADO 6 MILES NORTHWEST OF GLADBROOK...OR ABOUT 28 MILES SOUTHWEST
>OF WATERLOO...  MOVING EAST SOUTHEAST AT 25 MPH.
>
>* THE TORNADO WILL BE NEAR TRAER AROUND 540 PM
>
>TAKE SHELTER...AVOID WINDOWS.
>
>LAT...LON 4229 9278 4210 9278 4208 9246 4229 9245


Obviously windows systems aren't something you want to rely on during a
tornado!

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2001\05\10@190014 by Dan Larson

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On Thu, 10 May 2001 17:27:23 -0500, David VanHorn wrote:

> >
> >* THE TORNADO WILL BE NEAR TRAER AROUND 540 PM
> >
> >TAKE SHELTER...AVOID WINDOWS.
> >
> >LAT...LON 4229 9278 4210 9278 4208 9246 4229 9245
>
>
>Obviously windows systems aren't something you want to rely on during a
>tornado!
>

... Or at *any* time for that matter....   ;-D

Dan

{Quote hidden}

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2001\05\10@190221 by Justin Fielding

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No problem with the dog.. Just hit it and have the owner pay for any
damages.

(You may guess I don't like dogs..)


{Original Message removed}

2001\05\10@191049 by Sean H. Breheny

face picon face
LOL! It is really funny sometimes to hear their synthesized voice speak
these warnings over the radio. The NWS radio station closest to me is
operated out of Binghamton, New York (pronounced BING-ham-ton), and it
pronounces it "BINK-ham-ton" and with a strange cadence, speed, and sense
of urgency :-)

Sean

At 05:27 PM 5/10/01 -0500, you wrote:
>
{Quote hidden}

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2001\05\10@200342 by michael brown

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>  >TAKE SHELTER...AVOID WINDOWS.
>  >
>  >LAT...LON 4229 9278 4210 9278 4208 9246 4229 9245
>
>
> Obviously windows systems aren't something you want to rely on during a
> tornado!
>
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> Where's dave? http://www.findu.com/cgi-bin/find.cgi?kc6ete-9

ROTFL  Personally, I don't think that I would 'rely' on a windows computer
to prop a door open.

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2001\05\11@003332 by Nicholas Irias

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My wristwatch also has a rudimentary OS and has been "up" for nearly 5 years
without a reboot.

{Original Message removed}

2001\05\11@043844 by Alexandre Domingos F. Souza

flavicon
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>My wristwatch also has a rudimentary OS and has been "up" for nearly 5 years
>without a reboot.

       The DataLink? I have one too, with the windows symbol, ehehehehehehe

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2001\05\11@053413 by Peter L. Peres

picon face
> My NT4 system easily had an uptime of nearly 4 months before I quit
> going for uptime, it's mostly a waste of electricity to continue.  I
> don't know what the problem is with all your computers but it's not
> impossible to have an install last a long time.
>
> Jeff

The problem with some of the computers is, that people believe that they
are what the label says: 'general purpose computing machines', and in
their ignorance try to install and uninstall various pieces of software on
them. Apparently this is not an action that is a part of the 'general
purpose computing machine' model of a certain large OS firm, together with
some disregard for dangling callback pointers left by broken applications,
which invariably lead to hangs after a while. It is a part of the model
for most unices however. Which is why I am using *that*.

I am quite sure that a machine can be left running even W95 for 6 months
assuming only a small set of well-proven applications is used. Come to
think of it, even CP/M could do that ! ;-)

Peter

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2001\05\11@053437 by Peter L. Peres

picon face
> Obviously windows systems aren't something you want to rely on during a
> tornado!

Why not ? If something goes wrong call service using the *phone* and
they'll tell you to *reinstall*. ;-)

Peter

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2001\05\11@101336 by Alexandre Domingos F. Souza

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>I am quite sure that a machine can be left running even W95 for 6 months
>assuming only a small set of well-proven applications is used. Come to
>think of it, even CP/M could do that ! ;-)

       The problem is the "heap".

       Every time you open a program, windows reserves a small space in a 64K area, called HEAP, to put info about this program. Windows 95 does not cleans this area after the program closes. Nor windows 98. Since you have programs opening and closing all the time "behind the scenes", this heap keeps losing memory. And your machine gets slower. And so it locks.

       I made some experiences with a "pure" win95 machine. It don't last more than a week turned on and WORKING.

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2001\05\11@115914 by Sean H. Breheny

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About two years ago, I installed win98 on a Dell Poweredge Server (yes,
call me a masochist ;-) for a variety of reasons. We kept the number of
programs installed and running to a minimum and rarely touch the
machine(via the keyboard at least, it does get accessed over the network a
lot), perhaps once a day for a minute to close down a particular program
and reopen it (not because of a crash but because a database has been
updated). Over these two years, we have had bouts of trouble where we had
to reboot twice a day, but we have also had uptimes of about 2 or 3 months.
We must be doing something right!

Sean

At 11:16 AM 5/11/01 -0300, you wrote:
>         I made some experiences with a "pure" win95 machine. It don't
> last more than a week turned on and WORKING.
>
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2001\05\11@133727 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
>
> You've outlined the strategy when everything is normal.  The hard part is
> handling the unusual or exceptional conditions.

Of course that's always the issue. That's why the system is multimodal. At least
one (preferably two) modes should function if the others are temporarily inoperative.

>
> > 1) Map. Roads don't move much.
>
> Except for temporary contruction detours,

Radio beacons broadcasting updates.

> genuine road changes, and map
> errors.

Of course. Presumably map sections can be updated on the fly. Another excellent use
for local radio beacons.

>
> > 3) optical/video. Interstate highway road markings are so consistent that
> > it should take very little effort to pick out the left,right, and center
> > lines.
>
> Perhaps true when they are present and visible.  Many roads don't have all
> these markings, or they could be covered up by snow or dirt, newly repaved
> and not yet painted, etc.

Which is exactly why the other sensory systems are in place. US interstate highways,
which was my target road, nearly always are marked. If the video system cannot
pick up the lines, it simply reports that fact to the master controller, and it's
input isn't used until it can pick up the line again.

>
> > 4) Magnetic reflectors.
>
> Ain't gonna happen.  Any useful system will have to work with the roads as
> they are.

Unfortunately there has to be at least one system in place that doesn't currently
exist. As you pointed out above, maps can be incorrect, video can intermittently fail,
GPS can have obcurity problems. So the magnetics gives a sensory system very close to
the road that has few failure modes. Radio beacons may work however creating a dependency
on a powered system creates some issues. Mangetics work because they are totally
passive. In addition with just some patterns, information about the road can actually be
passed to the vehicle through the magnetic interface. Imagine patters of magnets down
the center line giving location or road change information.

And most automated vehicle systems proposed are looking at smart roads, where they
are torn up. Adding reflectors to an existing road is a minimal expense.

>
> What happens when a dog crosses the road, a child follows a ball accross,

I feel very sorry for animals or children crossing an interstate highway. These are
almost always nearly fatal even in the best circumstance. I'm deliberatly limited
this system to an area where such obsticles are extremely rare. Ultrasonics may be
able to mitigate this instance somewhat also.

> a
> policeman on the side of the road tells you to stop or slow down, etc.

Presumable police and other emergency personnel will have overrides to the system.

This is an extremely complex problem. That's why it hasn't been implemented on a wide
scale. It's going to require severe overengineering and safety check before it can be
put into wide use. However precisely for the reasons you stated, this system is going
to have to have nearly a dozen overlapping sensory systems in order to adequately
function is all operating conditions. Lastly there is an operator of last resort that
can be notified and can take over if excessive failure modes occur. Note that while
planes have autopilots, they also have multiple real pilots too.

By limiting the scope of the problem, the possibility of creating such a system is
within the realm of possibility. Autodriving for a 10 mile trip isn't really a big
deal. However for a 500, 1000, 2000 mile trip it can be invaluable.

BAJ

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2001\05\11@184949 by jamesnewton

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This isn't about electrical engineering anymore.

Please change the topic tag to [OT]:

Thanks

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{Original Message removed}

2001\05\11@194241 by Alexandre Domingos F. Souza

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>About two years ago, I installed win98 on a Dell Poweredge Server (yes,
>call me a masochist ;-) for a variety of reasons. We kept the number of
>programs installed and running to a minimum and rarely touch the
>machine(via the keyboard at least, it does get accessed over the network a
>lot), perhaps once a day for a minute to close down a particular program
>and reopen it (not because of a crash but because a database has been
>updated). Over these two years, we have had bouts of trouble where we had
>to reboot twice a day, but we have also had uptimes of about 2 or 3 months.
>We must be doing something right!
>At 11:16 AM 5/11/01 -0300, you wrote:
>>         I made some experiences with a "pure" win95 machine. It don't
>> last more than a week turned on and WORKING.

       Note I'm talking about a completely different thing: Win95 and win98...

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